Lee County Wal-Mart hit by double tragedy

March 5, 2007

Lee County--Employees at a south Georgia store are dealing with a double storm tragedy.

Two of the nine Georgians killed last week, A Baker county couple, worked together at the Wal-Mart in Lee County.

Purple ribbons now decorate the outside Walmart. Two of its star employees are now gone.

 "Both of them were nice people. You couldn't ask for a better couple," say Roy Smith.

40-year-old Daron Owens; his wife, 36-year-old Phyllis; and their 12-year-old daughter Kursty died after a tornado tore through their mobile home late Thursday night in Baker County.

"That was my buddy," recalls Smith. Roy Smith worked closely with Daron for six years in the store's seafood section. Daron's wife worked nearby in deli. Smith knew the couple well.

"Me and her worked at Publix together. She was a good woman, you know.  He was a super guy. He'd do anything I asked him to do, and I'd do anything he asked me to do. We never had no kind of disagreement about nothing," says Smith.

Roy shared a final conversation with Daron as he left work Thursday afternoon.

"He told me, 'I'll see you later bro I'll have everything looking good for you when you come in. I said, 'All right, man," says Smith.

It was later that night that Roy lost his best friend of nearly 20 years.

"I know I'm not going to find anybody like Daron no more," says Smith.

A table inside the store now honors Daron along with his wife and daughter. Employees have also signed cards.

"The Wal-mart family loved him," says Smith.

And they will certainly never forget him nor his family.

One funeral for all three of the family members will be held this Friday at 2:00 PM at Thankful Baptist Church in Baker County.